How to Find First Place (Part 1 of 3)

Be great!  Pick up a towel and serve others.

January 25, 2021

"And He came to Capernaum: and being in the house He asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?  But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.  And He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."

Mark 9:33-35

Part 1

Today:  What Does the “Pride of Life” Mean to Me?

We humans daily expose the true affections of our hearts by how we act and what we say.  The way we treat others is also a dead giveaway to our desires.  Our Genesis three natures are petty and selfish.  We are experts at looking out for ourselves while overlooking needs in others, as did the priest and the lawyer in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35).  As believers, saved by His grace, we still fight battles with our “old man.”  We must always guard our hearts against sins that could so easily beset us.

One of the areas that we individuals will be tempted by in our struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil, is the devious desire for greatness, to be in the first place.  In his first Epistle, John calls this desire the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16).  This desire can reveal itself in our hearts in several subtle ways.

It may strike us as the desire to have the recognition and glory for something done by someone else, possibly even something done by God.[1]  It could be coupled with wanting to let others know the good things we have done, our own accomplishments.

It can also attack us with the desire to be praised by others.  Face it, it feels good to have people saying good things about us.  When someone lavishes us with admiration, it shows others how great we really are.  We think that this makes us “somebody.”

It might infect us with the desire to be valuable in the sight of others.  And especially of greater value than those around us.  “I’m the best!”  “And you need to acknowledge it!”

It might afflict us with the desire for “bragging rights.”  “I’m number 1!”  This is the giant ego and the enlarged head to match.  It is puffing up the value on one’s position of power over other people, “look at me!”

The “pride of life,” is Satan-like!

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:  I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).

And if it were not for God’s grace, we would talk the same way!  Any way you slice it, the “pride of life” is deadly to the believer who would be a servant of God.  Believers take heart.  Even the Lord’s disciples struggled with this.  We need to learn how to overcome the “pride of life” from our Lord Jesus.

How did the Lord’s disciples get beyond the ugly “pride of life” that threatened to sink them?  We know that we are not immune to it.  Let’s talk again tomorrow about how Jesus helped His men through this common sin.


Quote:  “Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important”[2] (T.S. Eliot).




[1] The basic ideas for these four thoughts of the “pride of life” I have borrowed from, and have edited them heavily.  Downloaded: Thursday, January 21, 2021.  From:
[2] This quote by Elliot was Downloaded: Friday, January 22, 2021.  From:  I usually do not use quotes from those who are not well-known believers.  Elliot calls himself an “anglo-catholic [sic] in religion.”  He said this in a preface he wrote to, For Lancelot Andrewes: Essays on style and order (1929) (see the Wikipedia article, “T. S. Elliot.”).  As an American born, British poet, he was a leader in the twentieth century’s Modernist movement.  We are not looking to him for Biblical teaching, but this quote does illustrate the problem of the “pride of life.”  With people living to make a name for themselves, no wonder our world is in turmoil.